What Is a Home Inspection?

What Is a Home Inspection?

Home inspections are the most vital part of the home-buying process because they help the buyer avoid any surprises with the home they are purchasing. A home inspection includes an evaluation of structural elements, electrical features, plumbing, heating and the cooling systems.

A qualified home inspector will look for any health or safety problems, as well as any positive or negative conditions. When the inspection is complete, the inspector will provide a written, comprehensive report that details any issues with the home.

Any buyer would be crazy to skip the home inspection process. That is why a good real estate agent will make sure it is part of the home-buying contract.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

The buyer does pay for the home inspection. The cost will vary, but the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that it may cost the home buyer $300 to $500 for the home inspection. That may sound steep, but paying a few hundred dollars is well worth it to avoid a costly surprise down the road!

Home Inspection Red Flags for Buyers

Have you been searching for your dream home? Have you hired an exclusive buyers agent? There’s nothing like the relief of finally being under contract. Now the only thing standing between you and your perfect place is a home inspection. And frankly, you might be a little nervous. What if it flunks the test?

Whether or not your new home gets the passing grade is up to you, not the home inspector. You are the one holding the purse strings. So what are some inspection issues that could make you think twice? Here are five signs your dream home might be more of a curse than a blessing.

Buyer Red Flag #1: Outdated Electrical Wiring

Today’s families are using more gadgets than ever, it is important to ensure your home’s electrical system is not past its prime. Any upgrade may be due if your home inspector finds overloaded outlets or a panel that is wired with too many circuits. Pay close attention to aluminum wiring if it shows up on the home inspection report. It was used between 1965 and the mid-1970s in place of copper, it poses a dangerous fire hazard due to the potential of overheating at connections.

Buyer Red Flag #2: Foundation Damage

Do you remember the parable about the wise man who built his home upon the rock? If there is one lesson we learned from that story, it’s that your foundation counts! Every home experiences some degree of settling. A qualified home inspector can tell you when a seemingly minor crack spells major trouble. Watch out for bulging or bowing foundation walls, which is a sign of structural weakness that can be expensive to repair.

Buyer Red Flag #3: Septic Tank Failure

If your new home comes with a septic tank, make sure trouble is not bubbling below the surface. A septic tank that fails can cost thousands of dollars to replace. That’s a stinky way to start life in your new home! Foul odors, slow or gurgling drains, and standing water are common symptoms of a septic tank that needs some TLC.  Many areas will require a septic tank inspection prior to turning on utilities.

Buyer Red Flag #4: Water Intrusion

Water is called the source of life, but it will wreak havoc when it creeps into places it shouldn’t. Your home inspector should investigate any water stains to determine if there is an active leak and to check for the presence of mold. A brown spot on the ceiling, for instance, may indicate a faulty roof, while stains on basement walls can clue you in to drainage issues and neither are a cheap fix.

Buyer Red Flag #5: Mold

A home plagued by mold is not just gross, It can affect your health. You can typically clean up areas of mold that cover less than 10 square feet on your own without breaking the bank. But extensive growth requires professional help. The cost of removing mold from crawl spaces, walls and ducts can easily be thousands of dollars, depending on the scope of the damage.

Roof Damage and Poor Insulation #6

One of the mort expensive aspects of home maintenance can be the roof.  Not only will you want to insure that your current roofing has years left in it, you will want to insure you have no leaks.  A leaky roof can cause thousands of dollars in repairs if not caught quickly.  You will want to make sure that your home inspector physically gets on the roof to inspect and provides some insight on the how much life is left before it needs replacing.

Similar to the outside of the roof, the type and quality of insulation can make a huge difference to your monthly utilities.  A poorly insulation home can become extremely costly.

Make sure that your home inspector notes if your home is using older fiberglass insulation or higher quality blown-in insulation.  Although substantially more efficient, the cost of spray foam insulation is substantially higher than fiberglass — and has more value in the long run.


A good home inspection can pay for itself a hundred times over.  Make sure to read over your inspection thoroughly and look for red flags.  See a Red Flag in Your Home Inspection?

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